I got my wish, but now I just want to be able to go out again!

Cropped view of woman with pajamas sitting on the wooden floor at home with hot drink and a book. Ev

Helen McDermott used to long for the day she could get up and do nothing, but now she says she'd love to be able to go out and meet a friend for a coffee - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I can’t remember when I first heard that old quotation: “Be careful what you wish for ...” Like a lot of sayings it was one I didn’t think much about as I was getting on with a busy life.

Busy life? These days I wake at six and get up to face another day of having to do nothing. When I was at school I used to long for days when I could have a lie-in and not have to rise at such an ungodly hour, especially in those cold and dark winter months. I was good at school but hated going. I liked being at home with my mum where I felt safe in the warm.

Sundays used to be lovely up until about mid-day when the rest of the day could be ruined by the prospect of Monday and school and arithmetic.

Then, when it came to working life, there was also the prospect of Mondays and facing the coming week again. Not that it was all that bad when I actually got there but I still hated the thought of it. Oh, that sound of the dreaded alarm clock! Quick, set it to 'snooze' to catch another few minutes of sleep.

Nowadays I wake up at six on the dot and can’t stay in bed. Why? I have no idea.

When I was working and lucky enough to be in a good job I was often asked what I wished for in my career. From the comfortable and privileged place of actually being in employment I used to say my ambition was to “do nothing”. I used to long for days when I didn’t have to go out to work and could stay at home in comfortable, slouchy clothes all day if I wanted to. Now that I can do just that I look at my cupboards full of clothes and wonder why on earth I have them all. The ten-year-old sweatshirt is by far the most comfortable outfit for the day.

So now I’ve got what I wished for but I’m looking forward to days when I can meet a friend for a coffee and a gossip, and get dressed up with somewhere to go and be of use in the world.

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“Be careful what you wish for ...” It’s one of Aesop’s Fables, a morality tale. He was a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564BC. He was prolific and wrote 725 of his fables, largely as a way of teaching lessons in morality.

They’ve never been out of date. Only a few days ago there was a news story about Donald Trump growling “Be careful what you wish for...” This was Trump warning US lawmakers considering forcing him from office by using the 25th amendment to the constitution. Since then things have moved on; as I write this he’s now been impeached.

Other quotes from Aesop that are widely used might also be appropriate for this time: “A man is known by the company he keeps...” and “Birds of a feather flock together ...”

We’ve got Aesop to thank for “sour grapes” and “pride comes before a fall”. Considering how long ago Aesop lived and what foresight he had he must have been quite something. Funny old world, eh? Now who was it who said that?